I wrote a blog a while back about how a former local radio host in St. Louis, Jack Clark, claimed that he knew “for a fact” that Albert Pujols used steroids.
Pujols vowed to file suit against Clark although most people felt this was merely bravado because proving that Clark knowingly lied with malice is difficult. That Pujols would face something called discovery in which the defense gets to interview many people associated with Pujols about his past.
Well, Pujols went ahead and filed anyway.
I find this interesting because Pujols is opening himself up to a lot of scrutiny. If in the discovery process it is found that he did use steroids he will certainly lose the suit and a great deal of respect in the baseball community. It was clearly in Pujols’ best interest to let the matter simply fade away. This is the strategy that almost ever other athlete accused of PED use has done in the past with the notable exception of Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong strongly denounced those who accused him, filed suits, won money, destroyed lives, but eventually admitted that he was using PEDs all that time. This effectively ended his career and has him embroiled in multiple lawsuits to this day.
Pujols faces the same situation. If it turns out he did use PEDs his long-term contract with the Los Angeles Angels might well be voided. His future reputation in baseball is on the line. This is the reason that Ryan Braun never filed suit against his accusers. He was guilty and knew filing suit would open him to tremendous danger.
On the other hand I empathize with Pujols if he has been falsely accused. I’m glad that he filed suit because it’s wrong when someone lies about someone else in order to gain publicity. We see it all the time in the news about politicians and celebrities. Lies are told with reckless abandon because the US court system is set up to protect the defendant and proving such cases is extremely difficult.
In this case I do think the fact that Clark said that he “knew for a fact” that Pujols was using PEDs is clearly a lie. Therefore I think Pujols has a chance to win the case.
Why is it a lie? Let’s imagine that Clark actually did have a conversation with Pujols trainer some thirteen years ago and that trainer did tell him Pujols was using steroids. This still doesn’t rise to the level of “know for a fact.” It is hearsay at best. Clark has no first hand knowledge of PED use.
In the radio show where Clark made these accusations his co-host agreed that he thought Pujols was using PEDs but carefully avoided such language. The co-host is a lawyer and long-time radio broadcaster who is well aware of the laws regarding defamation and slander.
I’ll be an interested follower as this case makes its way through the system.
I know for whom I’ll be rooting . I hope Pujols is able to prove his case and Clark is ordered to pay a fine, which Pujols says will go to charity, and apologize.
If evidence arises that Pujols actually did use PEDs, I’ll be saddened although not particularly surprised.
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